It’s an end of an era in Cupertino today. Apple just announced the end of production on its AirPort line of base stations, a list that includes the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch, the company noted that it will continue to sell its remaining stock, but once it’s done, it’s done. “We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products,” says the spokesperson. “They will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.”
The end of the line probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise for outsiders. A lot has changed in the home networking category since Apple arrived on the scene nearly 20 years back. A number of other consumer electronics bigwigs have entered the fray, along with a number of notable startups.
Google, Linksys and Netgear have offered some pretty compelling offerings, along with newcomers like Plume and Eero. AirPort has clearly become less and less of a focus for the company over the past decade. While the home setting continues to play a vital role in Apple’s hardware play, the company’s focus has since shifted to multimedia and smart home offerings like Apple TV and the HomePod.
It seems likely that the company will continue exploring home networking avenues in the future, as it focuses more and more on its HomeKit strategy, but AirPort in its current form doesn’t appear to have been profitable enough to have warranted whatever remaining resources the company was continuing to expend.
Given its relatively newfound willingness to partner with hardware makers on the HomeKit front, however, third-party hardware could potentially prove a compelling avenue in the future. Meantime, the company should be providing continued support for those who pick up any remaining stock. It’s also started offering some advice for those looking for an Apple-friendly home router.